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Do You Work More When You’re Happy but Less When You’re Sad? 10X Winners Don’t

Do You Work More When You’re Happy but Less When You’re Sad? 10X Winners Don’t

Nearly 100 years ago, two legendary explorers, two great rivals Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen and their teams, raced to be the first to reach the South Pole.[1] As they marched, neither knew the other’s progress, but marched on with incredible strength and tenacity. The two men were very different, Scott a military man, traditional and professional; Amundesen, a stone cold arctic explorer who sought to be the first to reach the pole at any cost.

    In the end, it was Amundsen who got there first, Scott arriving a couple of days after. Amundsen turned and headed back, his journey home was largely without incident. Scott and his men, tragically, perished on the return.[2]

    Scott was an experienced navigator and explorer long before the south pole expedition. So why did Amundsen arrive days before Scott? What made Amundsen arrived first was his determination, tenacity, and his superior planning.

    It is a story I have long been fascinated by. The sheer drama and heroism of it is incredible. Yet, thinking about it now, I realize that there is so much that can be learned by it, not just about exploration, or history, but in any great undertaking, no matter what it is.

    The story is proof of the success of consistent progress, and something the writer Jim Collins calls the 20 Mile March. Where, he says, the key to success in something doesn’t lie in some natural ability or an individual’s personality, but consistent progress at all times.

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    The 20 Mile March

      On the south pole exhibition, Scott intended to do two things: 1) reach the South Pole before anyone else and 2) conduct research and study the South Pole

      Whereas Amundsen intended to only reach the South Pole before anyone else.

      While Scott and his team were researching and studying, Amundsen was constantly on the move, constantly heading towards the pole. Sure, there may have been days where Scott and his men moved many miles further than Amundsen and his team had that day. But Amundsen’s perseverance kept him moving ever onward.

        The story is proof of the success of progressive, consistent progress — marching for 20 miles no matter what condition.

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        Make the most of the 20 Mile March

          Breaking down the 20 mile march idea, it is possible to see seven steps that you must undertake in order to benefit the most. These are:

          1. Set performance markers

          Before you start on something, the first thing you should do is set a minimum acceptable level of success. Having a minimum acceptable standard forces you to push yourself in a kind of productive level of discomfort.

          It’s like the classic fable of the hare and the tortoise, the reason the hare ultimately lost the race is because he thought he needed to rest when he didn’t, he didn’t establish an acceptable level standard, and as such he lost to an opponent that was significantly slower than him.

          2. Set up constraints, so you don’t push yourself too much

          At the same time, it is just as important to set a constraint so you don’t push yourself too much and then burn out before you reach your goal.

          This is encapsulated by the term “20 mile march”, in good conditions, and on a good surface, a person in good shape can cover 20 miles in roughly 6-7 hours. This amount pushes you, and it can be hard to maintain. At the same time, this 6-7 hours will afford you enough time to rest so you can continue the same pace the day after.

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          3. Ensure that your plan is tailored around you and the task at hand

          Nothing worth doing is done easily, but to maximize your chance of success in a task or undertaking it is important to know not only your own strengths and weaknesses, but also the capabilities of those with you, for example your team mates, and to use this knowledge for your advantage.

          Adapt your plan around everything and you could have the most effective, and most skilled team in the world. But if your plan revolves around someone being able to do something they can’t, then it’s a bad plan.

          Even if you don’t have a team, the same rule applies. After all there is no point in setting yourself for a 20 mile march if you can’t walk.

          4. Ensure that you’re independent from outside forces

          Make sure your goals aren’t influenced by outside forces or influences. Another reason why Scott came second, and perhaps even why his expedition had such a tragic outcome, is because scientific groups at home were interested in research he was able to collect and any studies he was able to undertake. This made his mission more difficult and slowed him down.

          Only you know best about your skills and abilities, and whatever your task is, remember that you will be the one undertaking it, as such, be the boss of it. Any decisions you make along the way or any limitations you put in place along the way will be far more useful and effective than decisions made from outside, this is for one simple reason you will be working from knowledge of the situation, and they will not.

          5. Take control

          This is a similar point to above. But it could prove to be unwise to leave your success in your endeavor up to the actions of others, even if that person is trustworthy and dependable, it is possible that something could happen which will leave the other person unable to fulfill their role in the plan, leaving you stuck, and unable to achieve your goal even if you are ready for it.

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          6. Have a time frame

          As the first two points say, the right time frame is key, too short, then you risk pushing yourself too hard, being open to too much risk, or simply running out of time. Too long, then you risk ceasing to push yourself at all, risking the whole operation.

          7. Be consistent

          This last piece of advice is by far the most important. To succeed in anything, you need to keep moving forward, relentlessly and with consistency. It is inevitable that unexpected things will happen along the way, you may be moving into things you didn’t expect or plan for.

          Returning to Amundsen and Scott, nobody had made it to the South Pole before, nobody knew what to expect. But if you operate with self control, with knowledge and careful thought, then none of it will matter.

          Talent is overrated. The key to success doesn’t lie in any natural ability, but consistent progress at all times. Set yourself a clear goal, stick to your plan and make consistent progress and you’re getting closer to your goal every day.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on September 24, 2020

          How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

          How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

          The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time: to-do lists, the Pomodoro Technique, Parkinson’s Law… All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all the others: the 80 20 rule.

          This particular strategy has been used the most and is regarded as the most helpful in developing time management and other concepts in life.

          But what’s so special about this rule? How does it give you success and how do you use it? Let’s explore the specifics.

          What Is the 80 20 Rule?

          Many people regard this rule as the 80 20 rule, but it has a proper name: the Pareto Principle[1]. The principle was named after its founder,  the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in society were divided into two categories:

          • The “vital few,” which consisted of the top 20 percent with respect to money and influence.
          • The “trivial many,” otherwise known as the bottom 80 percent.

          As he researched this further, he came to discover that this divide didn’t apply only to money and influence, but other areas, too. Virtually all economic activity was subject to his previous observation.

          He observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth at the time was controlled by only 20% of the population.

          Since the development of this rule, humankind has used this particular ratio in all kinds of situations. Even if the ratio isn’t always exact, we see this rule applied in many industries and in life. Examples are:

          • 20% of sales reps will generate 80% of your total sales.
          • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
          • 80% of the revenue will stem from 20% of the workers.

          Either way, I’m sure you can piece together why people call this rule the 80 20 rule over Pareto’s Principle[2].

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          Make Your Life and Your Business More Efficient with the 80-20 Rule - Salesforce Canada Blog

            In terms of how this particular rule will be able to work for you, it’s a matter of applying this rule to how you spend your time. For us to see success, the goal is simple.

            We need to set it up in such a way that 20% of our input is responsible for 80% of our results.

            Another way to think about it is we use 20% of our time on activities that give us 80% of our results in a given area of life.

            How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?

            To best explain this, let’s visualize a bit.

            In an ideal world:

            • Every employee would contribute the same amount of effort to work.
            • Every feature that’s released for an app or product would be equally loved by users.
            • Each business idea you come up with would be a hit.

            In that scenario, planning would be a breeze. There wouldn’t be any need to analyze anything so long as you put in the effort.

            But that’s not reality.

            Yes, the effort is certainly an element, but what the 80 20 principle states is that everything is unequal. Invest in 10 start-up companies, and you’ll find only a few will pass year two and make it big. You’re in a team of five, and there’ll be one person doing more work than others.

            We wish our lives were always one-for-one in terms of input and output, but that’s simply not true. Understanding this is key to understanding how the 80 20 rule really works.

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            So how does it really work?

            It’s a matter of focusing on what’s giving you the most in your life for little of your time.

            Going back to the few examples I’ve presented above, consider this:

            • If two start-ups you invested in are making it big, focus on having a more direct hand, and see if you can help them prosper more.
            • If 20% of sales reps are giving you 80% of your sales, focus on rewarding those and keeping their spirits high and motivated.

            These scenarios can go on and on, but the idea is to place your efforts on the 20% that is actually making the difference in your life. Another term that’s good to know is the diminishing marginal utility[3].

            Pareto didn’t come up with this one, but the law goes as follows: each extra hour of effort or worker will add less “oomph” to your finished results.

            Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you will spend a lot of time on small and unimportant details, similar to perfectionism.

            So before hitting that point, you want to have a laser focus on the most important details, from family and relationships to your work or business. Prioritize the activities that are going to move you forward the most, and be wary of adding extra time, effort, or more hands into those particular tasks moving forward.

            How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule

            So now that you have an understanding of the 80 20 rule and how it works, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

            Depending on where you are applying this rule, this can be used in all kinds of fashions.

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            For example, you can apply this rule to goal setting, as demonstrated by Brian Tracy in this video:

            Or you can apply it in terms of general productivity as explained in this article: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

            The core of this rule is that it forces us to ask ourselves the questions we wouldn’t consider otherwise. It helps us to place our focus in the right places with regards to all things in life.

            In short, the 80 20 rule places us in charge of our lives and helps us set out on our goals and dreams. With this in mind, here are some things you can consider concerning this rule.

            1. Focus on Your Big Tasks First

            While this is the essence of the 80 20 rule, it’s still worth mentioning. Why? Because so many of us feel intimidated by the biggest task. We instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first.

            We think that if we complete enough small tasks that we will feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work.

            Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained, or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.

            Instead of doing all that, bite the bullet and tackle the largest task first.

            If you need help with prioritization, check out this article.

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            I argue this by challenging you to ask yourself this one question:

            “Is the task I’m about to do the top 20 percent of my activities or the bottom 80 percent?”

            I’m sure you’ve seen time and again you or other workers spending a lot of time on one task for most of the day. In those kinds of grinds, you’re barely getting ahead and have next to nothing to show for it. That’s because they’re putting all their attention on work that’s in the 80 percent.

            It’s normally the big tasks that are part of the 20 percent.

            Another way to think about this is that everything we do starts a habit. If every day we spend our energy on low-value tasks, we will always prioritize those.

            2. Stretch This Into Personal Life

            While I’ve been talking about business and setting goals, remember you can use this in other areas of your life, too.

            Take your personal life and ask yourself some of these questions:

            • How much TV do you watch on a regular basis? What sort of shows are you legitimately into? These questions can help you in recognizing what shows you are watching purely for consumption. By applying the 80 20 rule, you can cut back on Netflix, TV, or YouTube video consumption and prioritize other areas of your life.
            • What does your wardrobe look like in terms of colors? Are there specific colors that you like? Knowing what you wear most times will help you in sorting out your wardrobe significantly. It also saves you time to come up with what to wear every morning.
            • How many newsletters do you actually read? This question can help you in figuring out which newsletters to unsubscribe to and can clear up a lot of space in your inbox. It can also relieve pressure from having to check your emails constantly.
            • How much time do you spend on your phone every day? How much of that time is actually doing something meaningful? These questions can help you in clearing out various apps that aren’t helping you with your goals. In fact, this can curb the need to check your phone constantly.

            Final Thoughts

            The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need, and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.

            Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working on them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.

            More Techniques to Help You Succeed in Life

            Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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